Siripanna Villa Resort & Spa: An oasis outside the Old City of Chiang Mai

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Photo credit: Open Chiang Mai

I have sent my review of Siripanna Villa Resort & Spa in Chiang Mai to TripAdvisor and have copy pasted it here:

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Biking around Sukhothai — the cradle of Thai civilization

Sawadika! Hubby and I decided that to better understand the culture of Thailand, we need to visit one of the oldest cities of the country. We chose the ancient city of Sukhothai — the cradle of Thai civilisation, very first capital of Thai Kingdom and designated as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in 1991. And the name Sukhothai literally means “dawn of happiness.”

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Photo credit: travelthailandhappy.blogspot.com

Sukhothai Historical Park is 427km north of Bangkok. Normally, tourists who want to visit the Park would stay in Phitsanulok — one of the oldest cities of Thailand and the birthplace of King Naresuan who freed his people from the Burmese colony in the 16th century — and do a 2-hour drive from Phitsanulok to Sukhothai. Or some who stay in Bangkok, would take a flight straight to Sukhothai in the morning, and come back to Bangkok at night (Bangkok Airways operates 2 flights per day). However, due to time constraint, we opted to stay in Chiang Mai and take a 4-hour drive to Sukhothai instead.

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Breathtaking karst landscapes along Li River in Guilin

Back in 2010, our overall unpleasant experience in Southern China was overridden by the otherwise stunning landscapes of Guilin(桂林)along the Li River(灕江).

Li River is considered as one of the best sights in the world — it’s included in the list of “World’s Top Ten Watery Wonders” by National Geographic magazine.

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Photo credit: Nexus Holidays

It is not difficult to see why Li River has captured the hearts of many, many artists — poets and painters alike. The karst landscapes along the river boast a picturesque scenery like no other. The Chinese government even printed the scenery at the back of their CNY20 bills!

Li River is definitely one of China’s most popular tourist destinations — former US Presidents Bill Clinton, George Bush, Sr., and Microsoft founder Bill Gates have all visited this place.

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Worth the visit: Alaska’s famous Glacier Bay National Park

We went to Alaska back in 2008.

One of the highlights of our trip was visiting — one of the world’s largest international protected areas and part of a 25-million acre UNESCO World Heritage Site — the famous Glacier Bay National Park.

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Photo credit to me. 🙂 

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Early morning run to Breakfast at Antonio’s in Tagaytay City

Our great national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, was executed by the Spanish army in December 30, 1896 for alleged treason. 2 years later, the first president of the Philippines, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, officially declared Rizal’s death anniversary a national holiday or “a national day of mourning.”

Rizal has written many novels, mostly about nationalism, about the country and has inspired the Philippine government and its people to stand up against the Spanish colony during the 19th century. Which resulted in his execution by the Spaniards.

Lately, though, Filipinos don’t really mourn for the death of Rizal every December 30, instead, they opt to travel out of town or go on short vacations between December 30 and January 1 or 2.

This year is no exception especially with our 2-week long holiday from December 24 to January 4, who wouldn’t pass up vacation opportunities? (This year’s holiday break is particularly long, you can view the list here.) So upon returning from Hong Kong on December 29, Fiancé and I decided to go for an early morning run to Tagaytay the very next day.

Tagaytay is one of the most popular day-trip destinations from Manila. It’s just a mere 2-hour drive or a 3.5-hour commute from the city. One of the reasons people also come here is that the weather is cool all year round even during summer due to its high altitude. Tagaytay is also where people come to see the world’s smallest active volcano — Taal Volcano (shown below).

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Photo credit to Thousand Wonders.

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Why taking the day’s first flight could be one of my happiest accidents yet

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Wishing everyone a very fruitful and prosperous 2015! 🙂

Today, I write about my thoughts about a happy accident that flying the first flight out in the morning could be one of my best decisions ever!

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Quick review of my experience at Philippine Airlines PR313

Just like any other short haul morning flights (first one in the morning at that), our aircraft was small in size — an A320. The crew was warm and friendly at that hour of the day, and I was still pretty groggy and zombie-like from getting only 30 minutes of sleep that night.

I remembered a lot of details though:

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Shopping, shopping, shopping in Christmas-fied Hong Kong!

I am, once again, spending Christmas in Hong Kong! I wouldn’t be posting more than 1 entry about my trip to Hong Kong since I feel like Hong Kong is my second home!

Every few years, my family’s main reason for spending our Christmas holidays and New Year’s out of town is to get away from the traffic and pollution in Manila. Sure, we miss the festivities in Manila every once in a while but who also wouldn’t get excited spending the holidays in another country and in a different culture??

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Christmas in the Philippines Part 4: The parties!!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL!!! I sincerely hope you are having a great time with your family and friends this Christmas season. ❤

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To continue my series of Christmas in the Philippines entries, next up are the parties. Be prepared for the holiday festivities. I say, be prepared for the partiesssssss!

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Christmas in the Philippines Part 3: The decors

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Photo credit: CNN

We have tons of Western decors that we normally put up during Christmas season, such as statues of Santa Claus, reindeers, stockings, Christmas trees, fake snow, wreaths, mistletoes, poinsettias, and shiny Christmas balls.

But we also have our own local Christmas decors like the parol and the Belen.  Parol — a star-shaped Christmas lanterns usually made from paper, plastic and wooden sticks (sometimes they also use shells) —

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Parol photo credit: Gino Manalastas

and Belen — a tableau depicting the birth of Christ (which also comes in many sizes from one that can fit in one hand to one that is as life-sized as Shaquille O’Neil).

😉

belen-pintadaBelen photo credit: mynerja.com